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Drive-In Discs, Volume One: Screaming Skull / The Giant Leeches

14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Hudson, Peggy Webber, Russ Conway, Tony Johnson, Alex Nicol
  • Directors: Alex Nicol, Bernard L. Kowalski
  • Writers: John Kneubuhl, Leo Gordon
  • Producers: Gene Corman, John Coots, John Kneubuhl, Roger Corman
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Elite Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630580396X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #195,863 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

In an effort to re-create a genuine drive-in experience in the comfort of your own living room, Elite Entertainment has paired up two horror films with nothing in common, tossed in a couple of cartoons, and dredged up a night's worth of intermission fillers. Alex Nicol's The Screaming Skull is an eerily effective little psycho-thriller about a newlywed (Peggy Webber) who moves into her husband's secluded mansion and becomes haunted by the ghost of his first wife. Borrowing liberally from Hitchcock's Under Capricorn (in particular the titular skull that follows our traumatized heroine around ), Nicol gives it a Southern Gothic twist with a decaying old mansion, a "slow," childlike handyman, and a strangling, overgrown setting. The Giant Leeches is another story, a swamp trash take on Creature from the Black Lagoon with floppy rubber creatures trawling the everglades for victims. They're as scary as a garbage bag and about as distinct too, but the real fun is the film's hothouse melodrama of hick poachers and hot-to-trot hillbilly adulterers. The giant bloodsuckers are explained away in classic fashion: "Maybe our proximity to Cape Canaveral has something to do with it."

Elite's transfers are better than one would expect, a little soft perhaps but clear, clean, and intact, and they've both been effectively letterboxed. They've also gone the extra mile to complete the drive-in experience with the alternate "Distort-O" audio option. Select the track and listen to the glorious low-fi reproduction of the tinny, buzzy drive-in speaker sound. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
People are sulking about

This film is not worth the storage room. Everything is as transparent as her night attire. And the film makes no attempt to convolute what little plot there is.

Eric Whitlock's (John Hudson) first wife dies and only leaves him the house. His second wife, Jenni (Peggy Webber) is a bit richer. Unfortunately she is still alive; but not for long. You see Jenni is unstable and keeps seeing skulls. They like to scream at her. Now I wonder where the skulls are coming from.

The Brain That Wouldn't Die

That is an awful big sucker.

The story takes place in a Florida swamp near Cape Canaveral where those atomic payloads keep falling. A swamp hunter comes back from the swamp with the tale of a strange creature that took four slugs from his mighty gun to dispatch. However he brings back no proof. That night wayward wife Liz (Yvette Vickers) just happens to be wandering around in the swamp when she spots is very same hunter that appears to have been leehcie- aided. Even though the Hunter really never touched a wayward wife the local authorities don't believe in giant leeches so they attributed his death to misadventure. It is not until several other people seem to be disappearing under the same mysterious circumstances that the authorities are finally starting to get curious.

Fat slob Dave (Bruno VeSota) catches his wife Liz on the very edge of the swamp fooling around with his best friend Cal (Michael Emmet). So Dave scares them off into the swamp with a shotgun. And you guessed it. They too become leehcie- aided.
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By A Customer on Feb. 14 2003
Format: DVD
I must admit that I'd been holding off buying this (and the other disc)--due to the price AND the conflicting reviews of others (some have loved them...some were unrelenting in their criticism). Finally, I bought them both...

I have 4 speakers installed, in that "Surround" set-up thing...(it also works fine with only 2 speakers) the front left speaker, you'll hear the audio of the film (being transmitted over what SOUNDS like an actual Drive-In speaker...very tinny and MONO). In the other speaker(s), what is heard are nighttime crickets, people walking past, cars pulling up to park (beside me!), and other miscellaneous sounds!--all of which is Extremely authentic. For example, during the "Giant Leeches," (on volume ONE) there's even a carload of testosterone-charged teenagers...about 7 or 8 rows ahead (to the right!), who whistle every time blond bombshell Yvette Vickers comes onto the screen. During the intermission "highlights," people are heard running to the concession stand placing their orders, etc. ****REMEMBER: All these sounds CAN BE TURNED OFF with your DVD remote, (choosing the secondary audio track) and you'll hear full-blown (mono) audio without the distractions of the public!

The ambient Drive-In sounds on the second DVD ("Wasp Woman," "Gila Monster") are much more entertaining--I think...especially as you watch the intermission tid-bits and cartoons with two young couples who joke about the images on the screen--with regards to the warning of NO PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION, "Let's All Go to the Lobby," and especially the Freudian humor of "Chilly Dilly Pickles"! You can't help but to laugh with them!
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Format: DVD
Well, I was extremely disappointed in this "drive-in" compilation. I own both Attack of the Giant Leeches and The Screaming Skull on video, and they're much better than what I found on this DVD. Perhaps I've become jaded, but I expect great digital work from Elite Entertainment, and I just didn't find it here. The "extras" are fun--all that schlocky drive-in stuff from the 50's. But my "fun" soon took a nose dive when I started watching the films themselves. Attack is muddy, blurry, and murky. Plus, where was the letter-boxing? The title card read "ack of the ant Leeches!" Very poorly done. As for Screaming Skull, well the print was terrible, just awful. And, as one reviewer said, there were huge chunks missing--bad enough the plot was crazy, but with these inexplicable cuts, how can anyone sane tell what's going on? Really, this has turned me off to getting any more Drive-In Classics from Elite. The recently-remastered "The Head That Would Not Die" looks like Citizen Kane by comparison. How would I rate this? How about "give me my money back?"
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Format: DVD
Look, I know that "The Screaming Skull" is no "Citizen Kane." It's an atmospheric cheapie that has endeared itself to me primarily through my vivid memories of Saturday afternoon TV. But that's no excuse for the cruddy treatment it receives on this well-packaged but technically and--yes--artistically abysmal DVD. I compared the disc with an old VHS copy and noted the following: missing shots, entire chunks of missing dialogue, bad splices, letterboxing (!) that crops and cramps the image, a generally dark and muddy transfer, and a phony digital end title card. This is DVD? Some of the cuts actually make hash of the plot. For example, a character screams in terror when she sees a macabre painting. But since the DVD omits the shots of the painting, her screaming makes no sense. Subsequent dialogue about the painting is jettisoned as well. So when the painting suddenly appears in a later scene, a crucial plot twist can register only as a confusing "huh?" Other omissions completely undermine the relationship between two of the movie's characters. On the basis of this disc, it's no wonder that people think so little of this movie. If Elite Entertainment couldn't be bothered to find an adequate print of the movie, why bother with all the "drive-in" extras? "The Screaming Skull" is a frequently creepy (and, okay, occasionally funny) movie that deserves more than its role here as the peg on which to hang a marketing concept. Look for it on VHS. Avoid this disc.
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